Whānau Ora provides a powerful tool for change


The  premiere of documentary “Tell Me I Can’t” airs in Christchurch tonight and details the journey of rangitahi taking part in the unique initiative ‘Bros For Change’.


Bros for Change is built on the philosophy of Whānau Ora which is all about creating positive outcomes for rangatahi in Te Waipounamu and introduces them to Māori concepts which lead them on a journey of self-discovery. The concepts help to increase their mana, confidence, health and wellbeing, social connection and enables them to strengthen relationships that will help sustain their journey.  


It has been a dream come true for founders Jaye Pukepuke and instructor Ben Murray to see their vision take shape. They saw the need through experience to take a holistic approach to the complex issues rangatahi face in order to lead them on the path to success.


The six week course progresses through three central pou or themes. The first pou is whakawhanaungatanga and takes place over a week “in the bush”, enabling the students to get to know one another and to establish the rōpū core values together. For the following four weeks, pou rua is hauora - the boys follow a day-to-day schedule designed to focus on mind, body and spirit. At 9am every day, the rōpū is retrieved from their school – lateness is not tolerated. The days are filled with a combination of mixed martial arts training and fitness, taiaha, individual and group therapy, goal setting and self-development

classes. The final week takes place on a marae and is themed ‘whānau’. Bros For Change then hosts whānau who wish to join the rōpū before a graduation ceremony.


So far graduates have been from Kaiapoi High School and Hillmorton High School in Christchurch,  Linwood High School, and Haeata Community Campus in Aranui. The  documentary  that premieres tonight in  Christchurch follows their journey with eight rangatahi tane who attend Haeata Community Campus in Aranui on their six-week journey to graduation.


Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu  Board Chair Trevor Taylor says, “It has been a privilege for our Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency to be able to support Jaye and Ben’s vision. They have developed a unique approach to dealing with complex issues faced by rangatahi in the South Island. We see real long term value in investing is these types of initiatives because they provide opportunities for whānau to participate meaningfully in their culture, it connects them with the wider community and improves their overall health, and wellbeing”.


“We first met Jaye when he participated in the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu intiative development programme in 2014, which allowed Jaye to network, develop valuable business and community relationships and progress a great idea into reality. After piloted camps for rangatahi tane in Christchurch in 2016, Jaye and Ben launched Bros For Change in 2017 with a planned series of six week courses reality – resulting in Bros For Change today”. Through networking, they were able to secure a classroom space at Cowles Stadium in the softball clubrooms.


Jaye says, “Initially I put out a post on Facebook to let people know about the course we were about to start providing, and within days I had two schools wanting to take part and now we have a waiting list. It’s not about where kids are from, we offer it on a school by school basis”.

Te Putāhitanga o Te Waipounamu, is an agency that works on behalf of nine iwi in the South Island to support and enable whanau to create sustained social impact.  We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Maori, underpinned by whānau-centred principles and strategies.

Media Contact:
Ranae Niven, Senior Communications Advisor, Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu
Mobile: +64 021 728 220  DDI: 03-974-0169
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu,10 Show Place, CHRISTCHURCH, www.teputahitanga.org